Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 02:18 am est

Environmental professor tackles future problems

Posted on April 23, 2014 | by Claire Scimeca

Hannah Luu/WSN

While there may not currently be a clear solution to climate change, Dale Jamieson holds out hope for a better future for the environment.

Jamieson, an environmental studies and philosophy professor, told students in a lecture on April 22 that ameliorating global warming is still possible if people shift their morality to focus on the coming generations.

Opening on the history of the struggle against climate change, Jamieson discussed the topic of his new book, “Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failed — and What It Means For Our Future.”

Jamieson said climate change is the world’s biggest cooperation problem. He said in order to combat the issue, people need to establish a new moral system that considers the fate of future generations.

To help explain the current responsibility of individuals, Jamieson quoted John Nolt, a professor at the University of Tennessee.

“The average American is responsible through her greenhouse gas emissions [for] the suffering and/or deaths of one or two future people,” Jamieson said.

Jamieson said most people disassociate their actions from future consequences. Jamieson said global climate change calls on people to look out for others.

“The changes that we are beginning to experience may become platforms for new values that will enable us to better navigate life in the densely populated, high-technology, high-consumption world that we have created,” Jamieson’s final slide read.

CAS sophomore Davis Saltonstall agreed that people do not currently feel the need to look out for the future of the planet.

“It’s not until we have a moral shift that is ingrained in everything else that people are going to feel like they have to change their behavior,” Saltonstall said.

Biology professor Tyler Volk said talks about climate change are important for the university’s community.

“It’s very important to have events open to the wider university body with leading experts on sustainability, climate change, environmental futures and more,” Volk said.

Jamieson proposed concrete solutions, including the incorporation of environmental issues into public conversation.

He acknowledged that despite there being no immediate solution, climate change will not wipe out civilization.

“Just because we can’t see how we’re going to get [to a solution] from here doesn’t mean we’re not going to get there,” Jamieson said.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 23 print edition. Claire Scimeca is a staff writer. Email her at


  • Jim Corcoran

    “A 1% reduction in world-wide meat intake has the same benefit as a three trillion-dollar investment in solar energy.” ~ Chris Mentzel, CEO of Clean Energy

    “As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” Worldwatch Institute, “Is Meat Sustainable?”

    “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains… the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Environmental Defense Fund

    “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~ Albert Einstein

    Join the revolution with a 21-Day Vegan Kickstart

profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.